Strike Update: North East CCAC CEO Suns in Mexico as South West Accounting and HR Staff Assess Patient Wounds

TORONTO, Feb. 2, 2015 /CNW/ - As thousands of Community Care Access Centre health professionals brave the picket lines across the province, news has emerged that the CEO of the North East CCAC has been sunning in Mexico – and that the South West CCAC management's "contingency plan" includes having accounting and human resources staff assessing patients' wounds.

"The CEO of the North East CCAC, Richard Joly, is described on the organization's website as being 'a leader of vision with a reputation for professionalism, optimism and integrity,'" said Ontario Nurses' Association President Linda Haslam-Stroud, RN. "Yet while registered nurses and patients in the north east have been forced into dealing with this strike, he has been sunning on the beach."

Haslam-Stroud also expressed grave concerns about the "contingency plans" of the South West CCAC. "Information has been received from inside the South West CCAC that accounting staff and HR are doing this work," she said. "It is totally inappropriate for our patients to have their wounds assessed by accounting and HR staff. The referrals for registered nurses to assess wounds should come from a doctor, the family members of home patients and long-term care facilities. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care should be taking immediate steps to address this unacceptable practice and get back to the negotiating table with a reasonable offer for our essential nurses and health care providers."

Approximately 3,000 CCAC health professionals were forced on strike last Friday when the employer refused to provide them with a small wage increase similar to that awarded to the province's 57,000 registered nurses working in hospitals, long-term care and public health. The CCAC health professionals had a two-year wage freeze in their last contract, which expired in March, 2014. Their employers were offering them another one-year wage freeze in the new contract.

"The employer is sending the message that these dedicated and skilled RNs, Nurse Practitioners and health professionals are undervalued for the essential work they do for our communities," said Haslam-Stroud. "While we are there for you in your homes, schools and communities, the CEOs are continuing to award themselves hefty increases, in most cases, and jetting off to Mexico during a crisis in home care. The public should be angry and this government should be taking action."

Haslam-Stroud adds that "ONA remains ready to return to the bargaining table at any time and the employer is aware of this. The ball is now in their court."

ONA members working in CCACs include Care Coordinators, who are registered nurses, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists, respiratory therapists, speech therapists and team assistants and other highly qualified professionals. They assess their patients and write personalized care plans for them, arrange services in the home or the community and provide direct care through Rapid Response nursing teams and palliative care teams. Care coordinators are there for patients when they are discharged from hospital and arrange placements in long-term care facilities.

ONA is the union representing 60,000 registered nurses and allied health professionals, as well as more than 14,000 nursing student affiliates providing care in hospitals, long-term care, the community, public health, clinics and industry.

Visit us at: www.ona.org; Facebook.com/OntarioNurses; Twitter.com/OntarioNurses

SOURCE Ontario Nurses' Association

For further information: For more information: Ontario Nurses' Association: Sheree Bond, (416) 964-8833, ext.2430, cell: (416) 986-8240, shereeb@ona.org; Melanie Levenson, (416) 964-8833, ext. 2369; melaniel@ona.org

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http://www.ona.org

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